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Young Aussie's candid $446 admission exposes cost-of-living trend: 'Go without food if they have to'

The cost-of-living crisis has caused Aussies to pull back on some spend, but millions are not sacrificing self-care.

A Melbourne influencer is proof that some Australians are clinging on to their self-care rituals despite cost-of-living pressures. Beauty influencer Claire Bridgett is one of 8.3 million people refusing to sacrifice beauty and cosmetic services for the sake of their bank accounts.

A recent Finder survey found that 41 per cent of Australians spend an average of $431 on beauty services a month. Botox and fillers were at the top of the list with a $131 monthly spend, followed by hair appointments, costing about $75 a month.

The 27-year-old told Yahoo Finance that figure was right on the money for her, with her bank statements showing her most recent monthly spend landing at $446.

Red-head woman in denim jumpsuit.
Beauty influencer Claire Bridgett has admitted spending almost $500 a month on beauty products and services. (Supplied)

The influencer, who has 200,000 followers across TikTok and Instagram, said while she had become a little more budget-conscious of late, she does have some non-negotiables.

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“The one thing that I'm not sacrificing is getting my hair done," she said.

"I am sadly not a natural redhead, I am a brunette. But I'm known for my orange locks and on average I would spend around $150 per month."

Before the cost-of-living crunch, she would regularly go to an expensive salon. She has cut that down to a “seven-to-eight-week” frequency but is not about to try an at-home dye job.

Beauty influencer Claire holding a Mecca bag split with an image of her with make up on looking at camera.
Despite getting freebies, the influencer still likes to purchase new products. (Supplied)

“I get my nails done once every like five weeks. It's around on average $60-$70 per month. And that's from getting my hands done. Then, every two to three months, I'll get my toes done as well," Bridgett said.

Bridgett admitted she gets a substantial number of free beauty products as an influencer. Despite this, she can’t help but make a few extra purchases when she’s at the shops.

“A little bit of my spending does come going into Chemist Warehouse, putting in my script and then going through the aisles. And then I just magically end up in the makeup aisle and something's 40 per cent off and, you know, ‘add it to cart’.”

Between Chemist Warehouse, Mecca and Sephora, on average Bridgett spends up to $200 a month on beauty products.

Then there's facials, which Bridgett said she won't trust just anyone to do.

"I do go somewhere more on the expensive side, so I haven’t been in a long time,' she said.

"I think part of that is thinking, ‘oh, can I justify spending $300 on one facial?’.

  • Hair - $150

  • Nails - $60-$70

  • Products - $200

  • Occasional facial $300

While Bridgett isn’t currently using fillers or injectables, she does see them in her future.

Influencer
The Melbourne woman spends about $150 per month maintaining her hair, and between $60 and $70 on her nails. (Supplied)

Australians are opting to spend more on "results-driven" treatments like anti-wrinkle injections, instead of things like facials or peels, which need to be done more often.

More money has been spent in the last six months at Ascension Clinic in Brisbane than in the prior period despite the steady number of patients.

"The spend of patients is up by 5 per cent," Dr Scott Allison told Yahoo Finance. "It speaks to how patients are having more results-driven treatments."

He said a shift to "preventative" steps to stop aging has also driven a 250 per cent increase in Morpheus8 treatments - a type of micro-needling that starts at $1,000.

Natalie Abouchar, nurse practitioner and director of Privée Clinic in Sydney, said the average person is spending about $600 every three months on popular treatments like anti-wrinkle injections.

“Most of the women that come here say they would prefer to keep getting their injections and go without food if they have to," she said.

“Even when times are tough, they still want to feel good about themselves."

At-home grooming, like haircuts, nails and eyebrows, is on the rise, but Abouchar warned against more sophisticated treatments without a professional. Issues range from a flare-up of pigmentation from laser misuse to far more serious consequences.

“I’ve heard of other people buying things like PDO Mono Threads and fillers from international websites and trying to DIY themselves, which could lead to disaster given they have no idea about anatomy and risk things like vascular occlusion and blindness if injected incorrectly," she said.

Bridgett steers clear of DIY treatments and warned that even seemingly simple at-home hair dye jobs can go south.

"We don't want any third-degree burns," she said.

Even cheaping out on professional treatments comes with risks, with the influencer warning: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

“My friend and I went to a place in a shopping centre to get her lips done. Two years down the track, she's like, ‘they completely stuffed up my lips, they're not dissolving and have done permanent damage’.”

Allison recommended doing research first and finding a doctor-led practice with experience.

"Your face isn’t really somewhere you want to look for a bargain or a cheap deal. Unfortunately, sometimes you get what you pay for.